Group of staff sitting together as they watch the convocation.

Superintendent Anthony Soto, Mayor Joshua Garcia, and Ken Williams from Unfold the Soul kicked off the new school year for staff members during the SY23-24 Convocation. 

Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia welcomed educators and staff to the new school year and emphasized the city’s commitment to high-quality education for all students. He outlined his administration’s three key priorities: creating an equitable city that provides equal opportunities and support for all residents, fostering a culture of innovation and creativity that embraces new ideas and technologies, and promoting a strong sense of community and collaboration across the city. Mayor Garcia stressed the importance of building relationships and partnerships, stating, “We can achieve far more together than by working in isolation.”

Ken Williams, a former school teacher and principal, author of Ruthless Equity: Disrupt the Status Quo and Ensure Learning for ALL Students, and founder of Unfold the Soul, introduced a “Start with the Crown, not with the Kid” mindset. This mindset encourages educators to support all students to “reach for the crown” or on what must be learned, rather than lower the standard given the student’s or community’s circumstances outside the classroom. He challenged HPS educators to approach teaching with a sense of urgency and purpose. 

Superintendent Anthony Soto reflected on his own personal journey, highlighting the impact of educators on his life trajectory and sense of belonging in school. He recognized that all staff members at HPS today can have this same impact on our nearly 5,000 students. Superintendent Soto also reemphasized the district’s priorities of early literacy, learning experiences, inclusion, whole child, and educator development. He shared achievements within these priorities as evidence that we are building the foundation of a strong school system and strong school experience for all students. To read more about the district’s accomplishments, visit the district website.  

Our educators are engaged in professional learning and back-to-school preparations. Visit our calendar for back-to-school events. We cannot wait to greet all grades 1-12 students on Wednesday, August 30 and PreKindergarten and Kindergarten students on September 6.